Woody climbers, sometimes vines, rarely small succulent trees, hermaphroditic or polygamo-monoecious to polygamo-dioecious. Stems unarmed, sometimes with conspicuous lenticels, or bark sometimes shredding (in most species of Vitis); branches often swollen at 3-7-lacunar nodes; pith continuous or interrupted by diaphragms at nodes; tendrils simple, bifurcate to trifurcate, or 4-12-branched (in Parthenocissus), usually leaf-opposed, rarely tendrils absent. Raphide sacs present in parenchymatous tissues. Leaves simple, lobed or unlobed, or digitately or pedately compound to 1-3-pinnately compound, alternate, distichous, variously toothed, commonly with multicellular, stalked, caducous spherical structures known as "pearl" glands; stipules 2 or rarely absent, often caducous. Flowers small, with prophylls, in panicles, corymbs, or rarely spikes, often leaf-opposite, pseudo-terminal, or axillary (in Cayratia and Tetrastigma), actinomorphic, hypogynous, 4- or 5(-7 as in Rhoicissus)-merous. Calyx with 4 or 5(-7) small teeth or lobes or a continuous ring. Petals valvate, 4 or 5(-7), free or basally connate, or distally connate forming a calyptra (e.g., in Vitis). Stamens 4 or 5(-7), antepetalous; anthers introrse, dehiscing longitudinally, tetrasporangiate or rarely bisporangiate. Floral disk intrastaminal, ring-shaped, cupular, or gland-shaped. Ovary superior, 2-loculed; ovules 2 per locule; placentation axile, appearing nearly basal, apotropous or anatropous, bitegmic, crassinucellar; style simple, connate; stigma discoid or capitate, rarely 4-lobed (Tetrastigma), not papillate. Fruit a berry, 1-4-seeded. Seeds endotestal, with an abaxial chalazal knot and an adaxial raphe with 2 furrows, one on each side; embryo straight, small; endosperm oily, proteinaceous, copious, ruminate.
Vines or lianas, occasionally shrubby [trees], synoecious, dioecious, or polygamomonoecious; commonly with multicellular, stalked, caducous, spheric structures (pearl glands); tendrils usually present, rarely absent. Leaves alternate, simple or palmately or pinnately compound; stipules present; petiole present; blade often palmately lobed, margins dentate, serrate, or crenate; venation palmate or pinnate. Inflorescences bisexual or functionally unisexual, axillary or terminal and appearing leaf-opposed, cymes or thryses [spikes]. Flowers bisexual or unisexual; perianth and androecium hypogynous; hypanthium absent; sepals 4–5(–9), connate most or all of length; petals (3–)4–5(–9), distinct (connate distally, forming calyptra, in Vitis) [connate basally], valvate, free; nectary intrastaminal; stamens (3–)4–5(–9), opposite petals, distinct; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits; staminodes present in functionally pistillate flowers; pistil 1, 2[–3]-carpellate, ovary superior, 2[–3]-locular, placentation axile, sometimes appearing parietal; ovules 2 per locule, apotropous or anatropous; style 1; stigma 1 . Fruits berries. Seeds 1–4 per fruit.
Seeds ovoid, often pointed at one end; endosperm copious, sometimes ruminate
Petals 4–6, free or cohering at apex, valvate
Flowers regular, usually hermaphrodite, mostly in much-branched cymes
Leaves alternate, simple or digitately compound, rarely pedate, entire or toothed, stipulate
Predominantly climbing herbs or lianes, but sometimes erect or trailing herbs, shrubs or small trees, occasionally distinctly succulent; tendrils often present, leaf-opposed or arising from the peduncle
Disk intrastaminal, annular or of separate glands
Stamens 4–6, opposite the petals; filaments free; anthers 2-thecous, medifixed with longitudinal dehiscence
Ovary superior, 2-locular, each locule with 2 erect ovules; style short or slender; stigma subulate to capitate
Flowers actinomorphic, usually bisexual
Ovary superior, 2-locular; ovules 2 in each loculus; style short; stigma subulate to capitate
Stamens 4–6, opposite the petals; filaments free; anthers 2-locular, medifixed with longitudinal dehiscence
Disk intrastaminal, annular or of separate glands
Leaves alternate, simple or digitately compound or rarely pedate, margin variously toothed or rarely entire; stipules petiolar; tendrils present or absent, leaf-opposed or arising from the peduncle
Seeds with copious sometimes ruminate endosperm
SELECTED REFERENCES Brizicky, G. K. 1965. The genera of Vitaceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 46: 48–67. Ren, H. et al. 2011. Phylogenetic analysis of the grape family (Vitaceae) based on the noncoding plastid trnC-petN, trnH-psbA, and trnL-F sequences. Taxon 60: 629–637. Soejima, A. and Wen J. 2006. Phylogenetic analysis of the grape family (Vitaceae) based on three chloroplast markers. Amer. J. Bot. 93: 278-287. Wen, J. 2007. Vitaceae. In: K. Kubitzki et al., eds. 1990+. The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. 10+ vols. Berlin etc. Vol. 9, pp. 467–479.
Jun Wen "Vitaceae A. L. Jussieu in Flora of North America @ efloras.org" eFlora. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA., 2017. Web. Accessed February 2018.